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In 1995, when I was first elected to the House of Representatives I came to  Washington with a singular purpose — to serve the constituents of the  Second District of Illinois. During that time for seventeen years I have  traveled on a journey with the people of the Second District of Illinois, and  with their unwavering support we have worked together to transform what once was  an underdeveloped and nearly forgotten South Side of Chicago.

Along this journey we have accomplished much. We have built new train stations, water towers, and emergency rooms. We have brought affordable housing,  community centers and healthcare clinics to those that need it most. In all,  nearly a billion dollars of infrastructure and community improvement has been  made on the South Side of Chicago and thousands of new jobs have been created.  We began this journey by promising fresh water for the people of Ford Heights  and a new airport that would employ upon completion 300,000 people. Today the  people of Ford Heights have fresh water and sitting on the Governor’s desk  400,000,000 proposal for an airport that will cost the taxpayers nothing and  only awaits the Governor’s commitment to build it. And while our journey to  strengthen communities and provide a better future for our children will  continue, I know that together we have made the Second District of Illinois a  better place.

For seventeen years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy, and life to  public service. However, over the past several months, as my health has  deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued  to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to  return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the  people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible.

The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in  Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future. My health issues  and treatment regimen have been incompatible with service in the House of  Representatives. Therefore, it is with great regret that I hereby resign as a  member of the United States House of Representatives, effective today, in order  to focus on restoring my health.

During this journey I have made my fair share of mistakes. I am aware of the  ongoing federal investigation into my activities and am doing my best to address  the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept  responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone. None of  us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I  will be remembered for what I did right. It has been a profound honor to serve  the constituents of Illinois’s Second Congressional District and I thank them  for their patience, their words of support and prayers during what has been, and  what will continue to be a very trying time for me and my family.

I also thank my colleagues and staff for supporting me and the citizens of my  district over the past several months. I am proud to have worked alongside each  of them over these many years. I know that our work and accomplishments will  have a lasting positive impact on our community and our nation.

With optimism and hope I look forward to the day when my treatment is  complete and my health improves. I will truly miss serving as a Member of  Congress and I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to the people of  Chicago, and her Southland for granting me the opportunity to serve them for 17  wonderful years.


Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Member of Congress



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